The following is a guest post by Jessica Suter, Director of The Change PR, www.thechangepr.com.
Over the past 30 years communication between brands and customers has changed dramatically. From direct sales to social media marketing, more ways are available to identify influence and communicate with ‘your people’. More ways of understanding brands is also available to the public too.
Being a woman of ethics I was intrigued to find out more about the real state of UK businesses (alone), what is the public’s outlook on business ethics, what are businesses outlook on ethics and what could we do to make a positive change?
Ethical has many different meanings to many different people. In this case I am talking about treating potential and existing clients as individual members of the public that could use different brands products/services to create a positive effect in their lives.
During my investigations I came across some very eye-opening and interesting figures released last year. According to recent figures from ‘Trajectory’ and ‘23red’ based on a survey of 1,000 people across the UK, being a ‘good’ company has more influence on purchasing decisions than ethics or CRM (Customer Relationship Management.) They also reported that 74% of those questioned want to know more about the behaviour of a company before buying.
I also discovered that The Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) reported in 2011 that 92% of FTSE 100 companies provide no metrics on ethics in their annual report.
So what does this mean? It means that more companies should be rethinking their company’s ethics and how they communicate with their clients. Most importantly…it is something that we young entrepreneurs should implement in our businesses to create a new change in the way businesses operate on a socially conscious level.
We are in the social media age where people are transforming into social consumers. They talk, discuss, recommend and complain about brands throughout social media platforms to one another. Each new comment creates its own unique domino effect that can increase or decrease a brands image before you can even say “Brand Reputation!” Whilst not all consumers are online the average consumer mentions specific brands over 90 times per week in conversations with friends, family, and co-workers. (Keller Fay, WOMMA, 2010)
In order for us young entrepreneurs to make a change for the better in business, we must seriously take onboard these shocking statistics and ask ourselves the following:
- Who IS my customer NOW?
- What do they desire today?
- How is my company reflected in the public eye?
- What ethics can we improve on?
- What could be lacking in our strategies?
- How could we interact with our customers to let them know that we appreciate their loyalty to our brand?
I always say that in business, development should not be seen as a ‘numbers game’, but more as a ‘people game’ it is people that businesses desire to reach, so why waste time and money on extravagances when all people need at the bottom line is to be appreciated and receive a good service, human to human. Forming relationships is the most important thing in business and in order to bond you must take that bit of time to talk, indentify, and communicate with your people.
Our generation has the ability to absorb, grow, learn, create, and inspire through our open minds and thirst for more knowledge and a better business environment. Why not take your first step by making ethics one of your top priorities in your business plan…I have J